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Space Force Protects U.S. Interests

In August 2018, Congress re-designated the U.S. Air Force Space Command as the United States Space Force, “a military service that organizes, trains, and equips space forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capability to the joint force.” Funded in the 2020 budget, the service employs 16,000 military and civilian personnel.

The world is dependent on space systems for innumerable aspects of life, pointed out Tom Gray, an Education and Training Specialist for the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Leavenworth. Space satellites allow us to surf the web and make our telecommunications system and GPS navigation work. They enable first responders and time-stamp financial transactions. Missile warning systems and weather and environmental monitoring depend on satellites as well. Loss of any of these systems would pose a threat to national prosperity and security.

International Space Law was established in 1967 as an extrapolation of maritime law, that is, defining free access to space for peaceful purposes. Since that time space has become a competitive place.  Because we are so dependent on access to space, we recognize that the intention and capability of another country to deny us that access is a threat.

An active Rotarian since 1998, Tom Gray is currently a member of the Leavenworth Rotary Club and has played a number of roles in District 5710.

Lawrence Central Celebrates Its Anniversary

Lawrence Central Rotary continued the tradition of celebrating the club’s anniversary with a social event.  Members invited their spouses and guests to join them for cocktails and appetizers at Maceli’s.  The program featured news about Rotary Foundation.  Two new members were installed.  President Steve Mason awarded the Becky Castro Community Service Award to Jim Peters.   

Jim Peters, left, receives the Becky Castro Community Service Award from President Steve Mason
Sajjad Hashmi, left, and Chris Ellis, center, were installed as new members of the club by President Steve Mason

Four-Way Test Inspires Career

Thom Allen is a lecturer at KU and a former member of the Kansas City Design Center (KCDC).

As he pursued his career, Allen declares that his choices were frequently influenced by Rotary’s Four-Way Test, an ethical standard he was exposed to when he attended Rotary Youth Leadership Academy during high school.

Allen studied architecture at Kansas State University, graduating in 2005. Then he spent time in Honduras working and volunteering for Rotary projects there. Realizing he needed a graduate degree in order to teach, he attended Columbia University in New York to earn a Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design.

Allen’s resume includes civil service work with the New York City Department of Design and Construction where he served as a Design Project Manager for homeless shelters throughout the city.

Allen also worked in Washington DC in the Office of Planning to foster “creative placemaking.”  That initiative sought to add value to public space while bringing community members together.  One example was converting parking spaces into pop-up stores or “shoplets.”  The process allowed small business owners to test their product concept in a market before investing significant time and money.

Allen says he is pleased to see Lawrence Central Rotary’s support for completing the Lawrence Loop.  He sees the Loop to be another example of bringing community together via infrastructure.  Allen observes that Rotary often plays a role as an intermediary between public and private initiatives such as the Loop.  

Stones Tell Stories

Rex Buchanan has spent most of his life studying and exploring the state of Kansas.  He is Director Emeritus of the Kansas Geological Survey, an accomplished science writer, and a popular naturalist commentator on Kansas Public Radio.  Buchanan is a long time resident of Lawrence and spent his early years near Little River in Central Kansas.  There he first encountered petroglyphs, rock carvings made by Native Americans in centuries past. 

Petroglyphs are usually found on sandstone outcroppings, bluffs or in caves.  Buchanan set out to document the notable petroglyphs in the valley of the Smokey Hills River.  He collaborated with Burke W. Grigs and Joshua L. Savaty to produce “Petroglyphs of the Kansas Smokey Hills”, University Press of Kansas.  Grigs served as project photographer, Burke worked with land owners and Buchanan wrote the text. 

Petroglyph from Ellsworth County: horse with a rider

The rock carvings documented by the trio shows a great variety of images; including humans, animals, geometric patterns, identifiers such as hand prints, representations of the sky, shamanism and story telling.  The petroglyphs are difficult to date, and Buchanan cautioned that care must be taken about making interpretations from a modern perspective.

The three authors faced a number of challenges as they worked. These carvings are vulnerable, erosion and vandalism have taken a serious toll. Most of the carvings are on private property. Accordingly, the book is not intended to be a visitor’s guide; the public does not have access to the majority of the sites.  Besides negotiating with land owners, descendants of the petroglyph creators had to be respected. 

Royalties for the book are dedicated to the Coronado Quivira Museum in Lyons, the Ellsworth County Historical Society, and the Native American Rights Fund.  The book is available for purchase in local book stores.

Beetles in a Box and Other Legacies

Charles D. Bunker discovered a time-saving way to clean skeletons. He put decaying animal remains into a corrogated cardboard box along with dermestid beetles. The bugs ate the flesh, leaving a clean specimen for the museum collection.

This innovative technique was one of many contributions that the shy, quiet and unassuming man would give to the field of natural history and to the KU Natural History Museum. Bunker was a leader in fieldwork and collecting, in curating, and in taxidermy. He helped to construct the landscape for the wild life panarama located in Dyche Hall. He also trained and mentored a cadre of future naturalists affectionately known as “Bunk’s Boys.”

Chuck Warner, retired business man and banker, was tempted into researching and writing a biography about Bunker–his grandfather– when he found family letters and records about him. It took Warner over ten years to write, re-write, and find a publisher for his book: Birds, Bones, and Beetles: the Improbably Career and Remarkable Legacy of University of Kansas Naturalist Charles D. Bunker. When asked how his book was received, Warner related this comment that he has heard from readers: “I didn’t think I would like it, but . . .” High praise for a first-time author.

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